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Providing Hope & Love to those suffering from Substance Abuse & Mental Health Disorders

“Recovery is an acceptance that your life is in shambles and you have to change it.” – Jamie Lee Curtis. I so appreciate the humility and transparency of those that are in the public eye sharing their journey.

Each day is a celebration when fighting off the war of sobriety, but in September, we have our own month to bring awareness even more & continue to surround each other with hope that each minute can constitute as a good choice in the right direction. Also, a minute is a minute so if you don’t feel you made the right choice, don’t be hard on yourself. be thankful you’ve got another one to do something different with.

I’m not writing this coming from a place where I’ve had, by definition, a substance abuse disorder, so I wholeheartedly cannot image what some of you face on a daily basis or how that even beings. What I can touch on is a person who suffers from anxiety and with the right “happy pill” from my doctor, it’s under control. Before I knew I had anxiety to the level I had it, I was in my late 20’s, early 30’s and so that was full of happy hours after work and little to no cares in the world. I didn’t at this time “overdo” it or worry I was having to many hours full of IPA happiness. As I got older, my anxiety started to creep up on me, and suddenly I was looking for jobs working from home so I didn’t have to make the commute or be around a bunch of people every day. These were things that peaked my anxiousness. I feel like anxiety wasn’t talked about or identified when I was that age so even though I was working from home, that wasn’t the root of the problem. One day, I realized I was drinking some almost everyday & couldn’t even recall when it started.

Thankfully, I don’t have any rock bottom stories to share, it was grace I just woke up and realized I had to talk to my doctor because nothing was fixing my anxiousness & what I was doing to try and fix it, wasn’t healthy. Turns out, I had full-blown anxiety mixed with a healthy dose of depression. I wasn’t depressed but the chemicals from alcohol is a depressant so there you have it. I also sought to professionals to speak with to better understand what triggered my anxiety, so I could be aware & learn to take a healthier route on recovering from it.

I share this with you all in hopes that especially during this COVID19 time where jobs are lost, an extreme opioid issue amongst us, money, health & stress issues are so heightened that you need to check-in with yourself to see how you’re doing. Depression, anxiety, and general struggles with mental health, when not treated can lead to substance abuse. Why? To some of us it just happens, our bodies are looking for something to calm us down and help us ride out the life storm. Others I believe there is a lot to be said about it being genetic. It really doesn’t matter, we are all susceptible as we look for anything to numb whatever it is needing numbing to keep going.

The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration: is a great resource on so many levels. They also have a 24/7, 365 helpline: 1.800.662.HELP. Call them, let those that survived & recovered give back to you and get you there.

Just a simple google for mental health or substance abuse within your city, you will see everyone cares about you being healthy by perusing all of the many resources everywhere. American Addiction Centers is another goodie:

It’s 100% ok not to be ok. For some, catastrophes like a job loss is just another thing that happened and you go find another. To others, (the pre-happy pill Hannah days) then this would have felt like the end of the world. For those that don’t have any mental health issues it can be really confusing and frustrating being around those that do. It just doesn’t make any sense why they can’t just get over it. Wish I knew how to streamline my thinking that way, but I couldn’t. It takes time, practice, doctors, support from others, and celebrating every minute. You have to ask for help, you need a team whether it’s people you know or don’t know.

What’s bad is mental health issues but what’s really bad is mental health issues that create a substance abuse disorder – double bad. The further down the rabbit hole you go, the harder it is to get out. You can do it, it’s within your power but just try and recognize if there is anything throughout your day that you need (chemically speaking) to muster through, you might need to check in with a professional just to see if you’re doing ok. It can all be anonymous but also remember, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. You got this kid!

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Finding Your Method to the Madness…Working From Home Edition.

Many of you have already been working from home with your careers and even the career of being a parent & raising children, many of you have recently had to learn how.

I’ve worked from home for years and wouldn’t have it any other way. I personally don’t like the rush-hour commuters, hefty dry-cleaning bills, cost of parking, and quite frankly interacting with people…yes, I do love being around people but I’m sure some of you know what I’m referring to and no, not everyone you work with you have to enjoy being around.

I do get side-tracked easily, it’s just in my nature, so “water cooler” talks can turn into an all afternoon conversation on whatever. Working from home eliminated a few of the annoyances I had working at an actual office but I found the distractions part wasn’t all about being at an office with a water cooler. At home the distractions are much different, there is always laundry, playing with your pet, watching your fav re-runs, your mom calls, your mom calls again, you call your mom, there is always something. Bottom line, work needs done, I like to call it figuring out your method to your madness.

What I know:

  • What you’re wearing makes a difference, enjoy wearing your PJ’s for the 1st time for one week then get up, showered and dressed for work.
  • Get organized, whatever that looks like to you, so you know where everything is to be able to complete your work.
  • It’s ok not to be uniformed. I use a clip board with paper to keep track of my things-to-do, most people are digital now but it works for me.
  • Outdoors is everything. Fresh air, just go get some. Enjoy a park! There are so many, try a new one each week.
  • Movement, walking – getting up from the desk for a water cooler break. Call your buddy from work and chat for a few if that’s what you would do at the office.
  • Setting a hit list. What is the most important item you have to accomplish and then list them in order so that is at the forefront of your mind.
  • Making achievable goals. Key word is achievable. Pace yourself, especially at first being new working from home, you are learning a new system.
  • It’s ok if one day is more productive than the others
  • It’s ok if something last minute comes up that you can’t work that day, you just stick to your deadlines and figure out when to make up those hours.\

I find that when I take a breather and remind myself that I have a job and found a way to also live as my best self, knowing what it takes for me to be productive at home, then I also realize I never want to lose these moments of appreciation. I work harder to keep it.

I work in various industries, one being the Telehealth space. For those not familiar, basically a HIPAA compliant/secured doctors appointment by a professional wherever you are and as you need. I love where medical & technology collide but I think the main reason I started working in this field is because there was a method to the madness which I appreciated and understood. The process makes sense. It’s hard to take off work, travel however long to get to your doctor, the waiting room time, heading to the drug store for meds, and maybe even not getting paid for the time you had to take off. For some, this is a blessing and elevates all of the above. Work smarter not harder, sometimes isn’t taken in the right context, but for me it’s finding an optimal way to make the most of your time for the best achievable outcome. That’s my secret to working from home successfully. Find your method, your system that works for you or else there will be madness (hehe).

On a more serious note, during our COVID quarantine, the Telehealth options have really come to the surface as the right & only solution for certain medical care. It’s been overwhelming for some to learn to work from home, missing interaction with their office friends, kids occupying your time more than usual…that can be very stressful & lead to depression. According to many resources but in the Washington Post, we are on the verge of a health crisis with nearly half of Americans reporting the coronavirus crisis harming their mental health. An increase of suicides, overdose deaths, substance use disorders, PTSD and depression in general are on the rise. Thankfully, for Telebehavorial (same thing as Telehealth but with a therapist) we’ve been able to add this as an offering to those that are going through a rough time mentally. Creating a work zone in which you feel like you can be successful + take time for you, will help to stabilize the roller-coaster we’re going through thus you will be less likely to experience mental health symptoms.

Will working from home be the new norm? Hard to say but my hope is that you find whatever helps you feel like you can do your best work + take better care of yourself and then continue to make that your new habit. I’ve always felt, the how/when/where aren’t as important as long as the job is done right by the deadline established. For me, working from home and having my system allows me to do my best work. My hope is that employers will allow employees, as it is appropriate for their job, to be able to decide how/when/where is best for them to be the most successful with their job.

Hang in there! Know many people are feeling the stress even if they aren’t talking about it. Do something for yourself each day and make that a promise, at least with that you have something to look forward to everyday.

National Call Your Doctor Day

We’ve all heard the old adage ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Essentially, leave something alone; avoid attempting to correct, fix, or improve what is already sufficient. Unfortunately for many Americans, they take this approach to their health. According to a recent study, 80 percent of Americans delay or forgo preventative care. The number increases to 93 percent when surveying Millennials, which is alarming.

Preventive or routine care is simply a proactive way to go about healthcare. These “well-visits” help establish a baseline for many health concerns later in life, and improve opportunities for identifying risk factors. Essentially, catching a problem early and mitigating the risk before it manifests into a much bigger (and more expensive) problem down the road. Sadly, the cost of healthcare is often a barrier to seeking treatment. This is why the Affordable Care Act (ACA), mandated that health plans must cover a set of preventive services — like shots and screening tests — at no cost to you.

In particular, the ACA wanted ensure women were taking care of their reproductive health by ensuring preventive care benefits for women. All ACA plans and many other plans must cover the above list of preventive services for women without charging a co-payment or coinsurance. This is true even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible. So today we recognize National Call Your Doctor Day – to encourage young women to schedule their FREE annual Well-Woman Exam.

According to WebMd, the top 5 health concerns for women specifically are heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, depression, and autoimmune diseases. Along with physical health, mental health plays a huge part in your overall wellness. If you’re depressed, you can still experience physical pains such as headaches, cramps or digestive problems which of course could lead to something more severe if not caught early on. Depression = Stress, and Stress weakens your immune system leaving your health in a vulnerable state. Women are twice as likely to develop clinical depression as men. During your routine visits, it’s important to share how you are mentally doing as well. A lot can change in life in a week, let alone a year so give yourself the gift of taking care of you and call ALL of your doctors. Not sure if your mental health is in check? Mental Health Matters is a great website with resources to learn more about your mental health.

HOW TO OBSERVE #CallYourDoctorDay
Call your doctor and make an appointment for a Well-Woman Exam. Encourage your friends and family to do the same by using #CallYourDoctorDay to share on social media.

You can also check out these 7 Simple Ways To Improve Your Health, too. It will be a great read before your doctor’s appointment.

Becoming Your 2.0

Becoming Your 2.0

I’m writing today to encourage & share the importance of yearly exams that includes a full blood work panel, OBGYN visits, mental health checks, heart health, and in any uncertainty if you’re not feeling status-quo, to go to a doctor.

I’m glad I get to write on this as I love researching the intricate and complicated gift that we call our body. WebMD and I have had a relationship for as long as I can remember plus a really great doctor I relied on. What happens to those that don’t have a doctor and or don’t know where to find trusted sources for their health?

Well, that scary time came for me about 10 years ago but that’s also when Hannah 2.0 was born!

I know everyone has their own interpretation of holistic health, but I’m sharing mine and this definition: Holistic Health is actually an approach to life. Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. It emphasizes the connection of mind, body and spirit.

I guess my journey on holistic health began when I moved to Texas after being down-sized from a job, and in the transition of moving and finding a new job, I didn’t have insurance.  The first week I was there I somehow twisted my knee and it was painful!  Someone had told me to try out acupuncture. At this point I was open to trying anything, so I found one with great reviews & I went. I had a fixed knee, reduced allergies, more optimism, sugar cravings reduced, slept better…all things I discovered that acupuncture could help with. I felt amazing. I got started using essential oils, teas, meditation, Reiki & Chakra work, supplements, yoga and exercises that specifically enhanced my mind as well as my body. During this holistic journey, I was also introduced to one of my favorite authors, Louise L. Hay.

Cliff notes version of her book, “You Can Heal Your Life,” states with the right mental energy and affirmations, you can heal the physical ailments you experience. During my stent without insurance, I learned to rely on easy things I could do to help me stay in good health:

Eat healthy.
Get that heart rate up. Be active, even if it’s just a walk.
Be thankful for at least one thing a day (by the way, you can cheat and just be thankful for waking up to do this exercise).
Find something that makes you smile, and better yet, laugh.
Join a women’s health cause, learn and be a volunteer.
Read so you can learn how to be the best you full circle.
Love yourself and by doing all of this, you sure are.

Without your health, you are not able to live fully in most cases. Since we are all predestined with a reason for existence, then health is the most important to focus on so you can find and or continue to experience your fulfillment. You take care of yourself first. Family, kids, job, animals…they will have to figure it out if you are not here so lead by example and take care of you. If physical health is in check and you are just not happy with who you are now, find out why.

Everything is rooted within your mental health but I believe it does manifest itself physically.

Whatever you’re facing, take care of you on all accounts. Learn more about nutrition, holistic health, keep those doctor’s appointments current, talk to someone you can trust, vitamins are a good thing and just continue to live life in moderation and you will see & feel the difference. “I allow the healing power in my body to manifest perfect health.” – Louise L. Hay